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THE VINO FINO 2003
Holiday Wine & Food Bacchanalia


Once again, San Francisco's Metropolitan Club allowed our group to hold its annual holiday event.

We arrived early enough to decant all the wines as the participants arrived, bottle(s) in hand.


I set about decanting each bottle off its sediment and then pouring it back into its original container.


Quite a few bottles!


That job being completed, we opened the first of two magnum bottles of Agrapart's excellent Brut Champagne.

This is a Blanc de Blancs and comes from the town of Avize.  It is a perfect Champagne to pair with the sensational collection of oysters assembled for us by Chef Merhdad Dabir.


Rave reviews, by the way, for the Champagne.


The wines were lined up and ready for "action," though I left the 1967 La Mission Haut-Brion for "last minute" decanting since it was an "old" wine from a frail vintage.



The oysters were, as usual, magnificent.

The crowd descended upon the display of oysters!

A trio of sauces were used by some...others of us prefer the oysters "au natural."


This man is a good judge...
...of oysters
& wine.

As the supply of one kind of oyster, the supply was replenished.



Jack Sweitzer brought a wonderful bottle of 1996 Daguenau Pouilly-Fum "Pur Sang."  This was a superb wine, sweetly perfumed, rich and complex.


Grant Miller tells one of the servers about his favorite wine.  She laughed, but was not impressed.


Alex was impressed, though, when she dropped a plate of hot mushrooms in Grant's lap.


Mark Naismith's bottle of 1992 Lambert Bridge Cabernet was excellent!  The wine displayed hints of an herbal, almost dill-like notes along the lines of the famous Silver Oak!
Chef Dabir's mushroom dish was most delectable.



Glazed Diver Scallops with an Herb Vinaigrette.
We enjoyed two Austrian whites:
SCHMELZ 2001 Grner Veltliner, a lovely grapefruity and somewhat peppery white.
PRIELER 2002 PINOT BLANC, a barrel-aged, delicious Pinot Blanc.


Jack Sweitzer, famous Vino-phile.


Mister Chardonnay, Dick Otstott.


This IS a tough task...enjoying good vittles and good vino.  Some people even take note of the wines we're enjoying.
Here's an accounting guy making notes.

Meanwhile, the IRS has its own perspective on the wines.


Grant Miller brought a bottle of 1991 MICHEL-SCHLUMBERGER Cabernet.  This was, typical of their wines, a bit on the shy and "quiet" side.  




Martin "Captain" Kirk brought a lovely bottle of 1994 Beringer Private Reserve.  This was marvelous, showing notes of cocoa and smoke, with a sweet woodsy quality.  The wine is complete and deep.  Nice now and it still has a lot of life left in it.


Ernie Anderson supplied a bottle of CHATEAU MONTELENA 1994 Napa CABERNET SAUVIGNON.  This was good, though even with decanting, it took a bit of aeration to open up and show some nice dark fruit notes.
Mark Naismith is on the right and yes, he is wearing his imaginary tie.


Doug Moke pulled out a bottle of 1992 CHATEAU MONTELENA CABERNET.  This had a lovely flavor and nice dark fruit, though it was a bit more restrained than the 1994 Montelena.
I think Doug added a pour of water to his glass, creating a Ros.


John McGlothlin brought an interesting Ridge Cabernet...a 1993 Horseshoe/Young Foster bottling.  This was, I felt, in need of drinking, as it struck me as being a bit sharp and slightly volatile.


Alex Hppen brought a couple of 1988 Saint Emilion wines: 
TROPLONG MONDOT was close to maturity, being a bit pepperminty and smoky with a nice, supple texture on the palate.
The LE TERTRE ROTEBUF was sweet and ripe, just about perfection on the palate.  There's a wonderfully cedary quality as it's nicely woodsy.  Very fine and quite drinkable now.


Dick Spotstott brought a gorgeous bottle of 1992 SPOTTSWOODE CABERNET.  This was a wonderful wine!  The wine was profound and complex.
As Doug Moke said "That dawg WILL hunt."  (This is some sort of lingo Spotstott can comprehend apparently).



SPOTTSWOODE 1992 Cabernet with GRILLED SQUAB with POMEGRANATE GASTRIQUE.


Chef Dabir, most of his work being completed, came out to enjoy a wine or two.


Justin "Time" Williams brought a 1988 GRUAUD LAROSE and this had a superb nose!  Plenty of fruit, the wine lingered on the palate for a long time and was delicious.  It still has a fair bit of life left in it.


Nace Ruvolo contributed a stellar bottle of 1990 CAYMUS Cabernet.   This had lots of sweet peppermint notes and was my candidate for WOTN (wine of the night).  It was perfection.


The Swim Genie (Jim Sweeney) provided a monster bottle: 1989 PICHON-LALANDE.
Fa-LA-LA-LA-LA!


Monsieur Sweitzer was also generous enough to bring a 1985 COS D'ESTOURNEL.
This was a mature, smoky, woodsy Bordeaux...pretty much ready to drink and it ought to remain on a plateau for a number of years.

John McGlothlin also provided a "John Vignau Memorial Bottle," this year a 1967 LA MISSION HAUT-BRION.

This was decanted just prior to service.


And though the wine was mature and from a vintage which many people advised drinking by its tenth or fifteenth year, this was a lovely bottle!
John proposed a wonderful toast to remember all of those who've been a part of the Vino Fino "family," especially the late John Vignau.

A mystery wine was then opened.

Since John has often spoken of "Mother Scuppernong," I acquired a bottle of wine with the "Carolina" appellation, a Scuppernong Blush.
We are pretty certain Tim Zainer, who was not in attendance, could live without having tasted most of the evening's line-up.
But this was a wine Tim probably wishes he had sampled.


Allan Anderson brought us the sweetest wine of the Bacchanalia: 1971 CHATEAU RIEUSSEC.
This was a magnificent, fully matured bottle of Sauternes.


The color was golden and the wine beautifully honeyed with a long, lingering finish.

Chef Dabir produced a wonderful Chocolate-Chestnut Mousse Cake with a Huckleberry Coulis.

And...next thing we knew...it was time for our Cab Ride (we had a hell of a Vino Fino "Cab Ride, I can tell you!) to catch the 10 o'clock CalTrain back home.


I'm not entirely certain of the significance of this sign, but it struck us as amusing as we trundled back down the Peninsula.

What a great evening!

Thanks to ALL who helped make this another memorable Vino Fino event!

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